"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Returning Newts

Hibernation must have ended for local newts as my husband spotted two common (smooth) newts (Triturus vulgaris/Lissotriton vulgaris) in the pond last Sunday. One seemed larger than the other so I am hoping both sexes are present and eggs might be laid.

I didn't manage to get a photo but here is one taken by my son in May 2008 of the same species in terrestrial form found on the patio.

A wren (I have only seen one) is still roosting in amongst the remains of dead plants and compost in a hanging basket on the patio and I have been getting more regular daytime sightings of this species recently. I am pleased that at least one wren in the locality survived the freezing winter conditions.

I spotted some rabbits last night feeding on a traffic roundabout near Birmingham Airport - not really unusual because there were several more feeding on nearby grass verges and there is open countryside only a few hundred yards away. However, it reminded me of sightings I had many times last year at dusk of wild rabbits (up to 4 or 5) feeding again on a traffic roundabout near The Fort Shopping Park in Birmingham. This was more unusual as the nearest habitat likely to support a wild rabbit population was a few miles away. Perhaps this illustrates the role roadside verges can play as wildlife corridors in the dispersal of some species.

I have visited a fairly local countryside area, which has large prairie type fields, a couple of times in recent weeks where I have seen hares in the past in the hope of seeing some hares indulging in courtship behaviour. No sign of hares yet but I will try and visit at least once more this month.

I am reading a delightful book at the moment (a Christmas present from a friend) called "A Countrywoman's Journal - the sketchbooks of a passionate naturalist" by Margaret Shaw. The journals (in a facsimile format) cover the years 1926 - 1928 and contain details of the wildlife she encountered in her garden and on her travels charmingly illustrated with birds, butterflies, bees and wildflowers. I do like reading nature diaries and for a while Margaret Shaw was lucky enough to live in the house of Gilbert White - author of my all time favourite diary "The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne".

I'm also reading Kate Atkinson's "Started Early, Took my Dog" recently out in paperback. I really enjoy her books starting with the first "Behind the Scenes at the Museum" through to her latest series featuring Jackson Brodie a former police detective. Her books are very unputdownable!


Pete said...

this was quite good


love the newt pic!

Ragged Robin said...

Glad you like the newt pic, Pete - better than my attempts of the ones in a murky pond!

That looks an interesting book - its a bit expensive new :D I'll look out for it secondhand - a good excuse to pop to Baddesley Clinton as they have a great second hand bookshop and I might be lucky.

I notice Sir Edward Grey was a co founder of the RSPB and there's another diary of his called "The Cottage Book: The Undiscovered Diary of an Edwardian Statesman" that looks good too! You really must stop tempting me to buy more books :D

Pete said...

the book was released in a facsimile edition not sure what I paid but not much it was in a remainder type shop :D

Ragged Robin said...

You got a bargain there Pete the new ones on Amazon are £117!!!! Used you can get from £7. I will keep my eye out for it though in second hand bookshops when on my travels.